Local church experiences flooding at Christmas


Church members discovered standing water at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church on Christmas Eve.
A company has come in and is cleaning up the damage.
Building inspectors assessed the damages done by a broken pipe on Christmas Eve at HBMC.

Christmas Eve can be a day filled with excitement and surprises as anticipation for Christmas Day builds. But for one group of people, Christmas Eve 2022 held an unpleasant surprise. A member of Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro showed up at the church building on Christmas Eve morning to put some Christmas cards in church mailboxes and discovered the building was flooded with water.

“If they hadn’t gone in, we wouldn’t have known until that evening when everyone showed up for the service. The damage would have been even worse,” said HMBC Pastor Jeremy Matlock.

Matlock said that one of the main pipes coming into the building burst.

“We had taken precautions like turning on water and such. But this was more and not preventable on our part,” he said. “It was amazing that all of that water came from such a small pipe.”

The flooding happened throughout a majority of the church including the sanctuary, entryways, bathrooms and Kids Connection, which is the daycare run by the church. The youth rooms and adult Sunday School Classrooms were dry.

A professional company was hired to come in and work on the clean up which is a tedious process. The amount of damage that occurred is still unknown since the clean-up is still going on.

Matlock said, “They are still working on all of that. They sucked the water out and are drying things out. That process is still going on and probably will for another week. Only then will we know the full extent of the damage. We know the flooring will probably need to be replaced, but we don’t know about the walls. That is the big question. We are just praying that the walls will dry out without molding. There are some electrical type things that were damaged as well, but we still don’t know the extent since we haven’t been able to get in there and test everything yet.”

The church held its Christmas Eve service on the Tabor campus as well as the New Year’s Day service. They do not know what will happen after that for Sundays and Wednesday nights since the Tabor administration is out of the office for the holidays and had not made any decisions as of the early press deadline for the Free Press.

The hope is to be able to relocate Kids Connection to the undamaged part of the building.

“If we keep it in the building, getting an emergency license is a lot easier and faster than moving it to a whole other location. Another location could take over a month before Kids Connection is up and running again. Our goal is to get that going as soon as possible so it’s not too much of a hardship on those families,” said Matlock.

Matlock and his congregation have found some encouragement in spite of the overwhelming loss. As the flooring on the stage was pulled up, thoughts and scripture were found written on the floor. They were written by HMBC members 15 years ago when the church building was built in a new location after the original building on Washington was destroyed by a fire.

“It is a good reminder that we are a church that has walls, but the walls don’t define us. Jesus is our chief cornerstone. The church is more than a building,” said Matlock.

For those who would like to help, there are opportunities to volunteer and donate. Go to their website for the links and more information at https://hillsboromb.com/

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